Here There and Everywhere: The Art Of Collaboration
Place: Part VII   Imaginary

From Dexter to Sinister: Exquisite Blazonry
for the Disenfranchised

Sarah G. Sharp • USA • Artist
Zelda Alpern • USA • Writer
Aurora Brackett • USA • Writer
Martha Clippinger • USA • Artist
Jill Leininger • USA • Writer
Beth Letain • Canada • Artist
Sierra Nelson • USA • Writer
Devlin Shea • Sweden • Artist
Leni Zumas • USA • Writer
Emily Sloan • USA • Artist

This project’s writers and artists are connected through participation in an artist’s residency. Seeking to continue creative exchange, despite physical distance, they began an exquisite-corpse style collaboration using heraldry as a point of departure for their collaborative work. Part of the title From Dexter to Sinister, refers to moving from left to right when reading a coat of arms. “Heraldry,” the artists write, “is an historic visual language with its own grammar and syntax, meant to convey the lineage of a person, family, group or entire kingdom. The practice’s interest in communicating class, social placement, power and prestige within a strict lexicon of emblem, color, texture and compositional placement is the starting point from which From Dexter to Sinister begins to address contemporary issues regarding identity, subjectivity, globalism and the lingering presence of colonialism in contemporary culture.”

The blazon, or text meant to convey the reproduction of the herald, “was a curiously poetic mnemonic device,” the artists continue. “Despite its potential for interpretation and loss within the repeated translation of image to text to image, the strict structure of heraldry and blazonry were meant to guard against any sort of subjectivity. From Dexter to Sinister proposes to seek out and emphasize fissures in the translation and signification process, highlighting not an adherence to a set of rules, but personal interpretation as well as the manipulation and disruption of the directive and unifying properties of text in relation to image.”

The project began with a number of written blazons created for a series of works entitled Family Crests for the Disenfranchised, created by Sharp and meant to represent a “family for outsiders, orphans, edge-dwellers and anyone who feels disconnected from their biology, heritage or tradition in general.”

Then, without access to the original crests, the collaborative team members were asked to re-interpret a blazon, demonstrating the inherent slippages that result when texts are repeatedly translated not only from one person to another, but also from one media to the next.

The dirty dirty • Brooklyn, New York, USA • April 7-14, 2011

The dirty dirty is a basement gallery in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn that functions as an alternative exhibition space, a place for collaborations and a site for artists to work outside of their everyday studio practice. The dirty dirty was featured in the exhibition Alternative Histories, a history of New York City's alternative art spaces and projects since the 1960’s, at Exit Art and ABCyz’s showcase of young art collectives in New York City.

Hampden and Central Galleries, University of Massachusetts • Amherst, Massachusetts, USA •
April 2011

Located on the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus, Hampden and Central Galleries’ mission is to facilitate cultural understanding through exhibitions and in-depth adjunct programming. The main focus is on new work by emerging artists in the fields of painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, video and new media.